Abstract:Recent work has begun to examine the link between motivation for specific emotions and psychopathology. Yet research on this topic to date has focused primarily on depression. To understand patterns of motivation for emotions within and across affective disorders, we assessed motivation for emotions in adults at increased risk for and diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD). We focused on motivation for negative (i.e., sadness) and positive (i.e., happiness) emotions and for emotional instability using self-report and behavioral measures. Both increased BD risk and diagnosis of BD were associated with increased motivation for sadness and decreased motivation for happiness as assessed by behavioral measures. Such motivational tendencies were less consistent when assessed by self-reports. Higher BD risk was associated with increased self-reported motivation for emotional instability (Studies 1–3), although this association was not evident in BD (Study 4). Findings suggest both similarities and differences in motivation for emotions in affective disorders.